Training Day: 39
Miles: 4.5 (mountain bike)
Elevation Gain: 500 ft
Weather: High 30s breezy
How It Felt: Like I’ve never ridden a bike uphill in my life, and like I was doing it naked because I was so cold.
Commentary: My alarm went off at 3am. Although I was groggy, my excitement woke me up. I finally get to take my new mountain bike for a spin! I got dressed, loaded up the bike, and headed to my friend’s 50k.
All the folks supporting my friend, including me, were using Life 360 to keep tabs on everyone’s location. As soon as I parked at the start/finish he called me and told me to head up the hill towards the TV/radio towers. He also said there would be a fence I needed to get over, but that didn’t seem like a problem.
It didn’t feel all that cold when I left the house. And it didn’t feel all that cold when I started pedaling. The uphill warmed me right up, and it made me gasp for air. Clearly I was not in good enough shape to ride my mountain bike up a steep-ish hill.
At the top by the towers, I had no idea where to go. I paused many times looking at the map and trying to find the route. Eventually I found it, and the downhill cooled me off quite nicely.
Then I got to the fence. I should have known it was barbed wire. If I’d been on my super light road bike I could have gotten it over the fence no problem. Even though my mountain bike is light for a mountain bike, it’s not exactly light. I would have ended up with bleeding armpits if I’d tried to get it over the fence.
By this time I was freezing. My hands were starting to hurt, and I was shivering. I tried to get started up the hill, but it was too steep, and I was too whooped. I walked up the steep part until the grade lowered to something more reasonable before hopping back on the bike.
The downhill back to the truck only made me colder. My hands started hurting so bad I wanted to cry. I cursed at myself for this stupid idea. Back at the truck I got the engine going, cranked up the heat, and attempted to thaw myself.
About 15 minutes later my friend and a few other trail runners game jogging down the road. He finished his 50k! I felt bad that I didn’t get the chance to ride with him while he ran, but it’s the thought that counts, right?
Even with the heat cranked up all the way home, I was a popsicle when I walked in the house. An hour under the blankets with a cat on my lap didn’t help warm me up. Then I jogged, in the cold, to PT, which also didn’t help. Thankfully the table they had me on was right under a heat vent, and the exercises eventually got me sweating.
Anyway, the moral of the story is to not try to ride your mountain bike for the first time, in the dark, somewhere you have never been before, when it’s cold.
Endlessly seeking adventure.